David Eby. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

B.C. casinos must declare cash deposits in new rules over money laundering

David Eby said the policy changes are the first interim recommendations from an upcoming independent review

More inspectors will be placed at British Columbia’s high volume casinos under changes announced by the provincial government aimed at preventing money laundering, Attorney General David Eby said Tuesday.

Eby said he also directed the B.C. Lottery Corp. and the government’s gaming policy branch to set up rules on cash deposits of $10,000 or more in addition to the appointment of round-the-clock regulators at large facilities.

“This presence will allow for an increased vigilance required in casinos,” said Eby in a statement. “In particular, it will assist with issues surrounding source of funds, third-party cash drops, and other operational support for gaming service providers and B.C. Lottery Corp.”

Eby’s statement said the policy changes are the first interim recommendations from an upcoming independent review of money laundering policies and practices in the provincial gambling industry.

“Our government has made clear the urgency around addressing issues of money-laundering at B.C. casinos, and we will ensure these first two recommendations are not only implemented as soon as possible, but enforced on the ground,” he said.

Peter German was appointed in September to deliver a report to the government by March 31, but the former RCMP deputy commissioner was given the authority to provide interim recommendations to tackle any suspicious activities.

Eby launched the review after reading a report commissioned by the province’s previous Liberal government that said the River Rock Casino in Richmond had accepted $13.5 million in $20 bills within one month, which police said could be proceeds of crime.

The Great Canadian Gaming Corp., which runs River Rock, has said compliance procedures are strictly followed and the company is committed to preventing illegal activities at all its locations.

Eby said gaming facilities must now be able to identify customers playing with cash or bonds of $10,000 or more and have the customer provide the source of the money.

The government gave the lottery corporation more authority to monitor the gaming industry last month with new service agreements aimed at strengthening security and compliance.

The B.C. Lottery Corp., issued a statement Tuesday welcoming German’s ongoing review and accepting the two interim recommendations.

“BCLC is actively engaged in the prevention and detection of money laundering, and will do whatever we can to protect our business and our players,” said media spokeswoman Lara Gerrits.

The Canadian Press

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